Manchester United Set To Hijack Chelsea’s Move For Midfielder: What Will He Add To Solskjaer’s Side?

Manchester United Set To Hijack Chelsea’s Move For Declan Rice (Declan Rice can be seen in the picture)
Declan Rice of West Ham United reacts during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Southampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images)

Recent reports from ESPN suggest that Manchester United have entered the race to sign West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks keen to add to his options at the centre of the park.

However, the Red Devils might face huge competition for the 22-year-old’s signature as Chelsea are still believed to be in the pole position to land him. The East London club has set a price tag of around £70 million on Rice, who still has another three and a half years left on his contract.

The Gradual Emergence Of Declan Rice At The London Stadium

The London-born talent has constantly been exhibiting commanding displays at the heart of West Ham’s midfield for almost four years now – putting clean tackles, retaining possession, and making numerous crucial clearances to help his side at the back. Even though he struggles to influence the game at the other half of the pitch, his contributions as a defensive midfielder have been of utmost importance to his team over the years.

Having made 17 league appearances under David Moyes this season, the youngster has managed to put up some impressive numbers on the board – averaging 1.9 tackles, 2.1 interceptions, 0.9 clearances and 2.8 long balls per 90 minutes. Moreover, with a pass success rate of 87.6%, Rice has clearly established himself as one of the best passers of his team. Flipping over to the offensive side, the 22-year-old averages 0.5 shots, 0.8 key passes and 1.1 dribbles per game – quite impressive for someone who doesn’t participate in attacks too often.

Manchester United Set To Hijack Chelsea’s Move For Declan Rice (Declan Rice can be seen in the picture)
Declan Rice of West Ham United wins a header from Josh Brownhill of Burnley during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Burnley at London Stadium on January 16, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around England remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The 10-times England international has plenty of time on his side, and if he continues with the positive development, he is certainly expected to be one of the best talents in English football in the coming years.

What Will The Englishman Add To Solskjaer’s Side?

Declan Rice’s move to Chelsea hugely depends on Frank Lampard’s future at the club. Given the Blues’ current form, it’ll be surprising if he sees a third season at the Stamford Bridge. Hence, the board might decide to not invest a lump-sum amount of money on their former academy player.

On the other hand, with Nemanja Matic turning 33 next year and Paul Pogba’s future uncertain at the club, Manchester United are in desperate need of a defensive midfielder at the moment – and Declan Rice fits the bill. He will be a long term replacement for the Serbian international, so his name should definitely be on Ed Woodward’s shopping list if he decides to part ways with the Hammers in the coming months. With a proven track record, Rice will be the ideal acquisition for the Red Devils as he ticks all the boxes required to enhance the overall quality of United’s starting eleven.

(Stats from WhoScored)

Pratik Das

The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.